Characterization of Films Produced with Cross-Linked Cassava Starch and Emulsions of Watermelon Seed Oils
Starches are promising molecules in the production of edible films. However, the hydrophilic nature of these materials is among the main limitations of packaging based on natural polymers. An underexplored alternative is the incorporation of emulsions. This work aimed to produce films based on crosslinked cassava starch with emulsions based on watermelon seed oil (WSO) extracted with pressurized ethanol. The effect of incorporating watermelon seed oil emulsion (WSOE) on the microscopic, structural, mechanical, hydrophilic, and thermal properties of films was analyzed. The internal structure and roughness of the films were significantly affected by increasing WSOE concentration. The WSOE incorporation increased the elongation capacity of the films and reduced the strain at break. WSOE concentrations did not significantly affect the water solubility, permeability, and X-ray diffraction but decreased the wettability of the films. The analysis of the thermal properties showed that the films did not present phase separation in the studied temperature range. Overall, WSOE improved the properties of the films based on cross-linked cassava starch, but it is necessary to optimize the production conditions of the films. These materials may potentially be used as biodegradable food packaging, controlled-release films, and edible coatings in food protection.